Turns out our jobs are causing us to spend a sickening amount of time indoors, literally. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to counteract the effects.
It’s not something most of us want to hear, but thanks to the modern workplace, the majority of us are spending around 90 per cent of our time inside.
Yeah, it’s not pretty.
And so it shouldn’t come as any shock that despite living in what’s dubbed ‘the sunny country’, most of us are desperately deficient in vitamin D (the nutrient most needed to maintain a healthy immune system). And unless you’re popping supplements daily or chugging back litres of fortified juice, the only way to make up for that deficiency is by – you guessed it – going outside.
Unfortunately, grabbing some sunshine isn’t always an option when you’ve got back to back appointments at work that mean you’ll be lucky to get out before Sex & The City fires up on TV, let alone remind yourself what sunlight looks like.
However, founder of interior consultancy group Welnis Labs, Nigel Hobbs says there are some easy changes you can make to your work environment that will make the world of difference to your health and wellbeing…
“We all need to stop sitting so much,” says Labs, who recommends using a stand up desk at work or home to reduce the health implications of being sedentary, which has been found to be linked to shorter life expectancy and even cancer.
“Just standing for a few minutes every hour can reduce the chances of sedentary illnesses like diabetes and heart disease significantly.”
“Replace your decades-old light bulb with the latest circadian rhythm lights that adapt their colour temperature during the day to reflect the changing light outside,” advises Labs. Blue light in the morning has been shown to kick start your brain for the day ahead, while warm oranges and reds in the evening will help to prepare your brain for a good night’s shut eye.
According to Labs, it’s important to consider noise around you whilst working and at home. “High levels of noise can lead to lower productivity, stress and if at night poor sleep. New contemporary designed acoustic panels that mimic art can reduce noise pollution significantly and keep you more relaxed and productive.”
The air we breath inside is often more polluted that the air outside, especially in offices, so Labs recommends installing wall-mounted UV air purifiers to reduce airborne bacteria, allowing you to breathe easy and stay healthy.
“Understand your sleep better, and wake up refreshed,” says Labs.
“Wearable devices such as Jawbone and Fitbit track your sleep cycles and wake you at the optimal time in the morning when you are in your lightest sleep cycle. Or try dawn simulation alarm clocks that simulate the sun rising 30 minutes before the alarm sounds.”
Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, help you feel happier and improve productivity, so find a quiet corner at work or home, close your eyes and just focus on your breathing for ten or 20 minutes. “The positive effects on your wellbeing are scientifically proven and are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace as a way to beat the effects of stressful workloads,” says Labs.
“This may sound obvious but clean surfaces reduce your chances of being exposed to bacteria and illness,” emphasises Labs.
The average person touches 132 items per day. To protect yourself from the bacteria from all that touching (gross!) try investing in a microbe shield treatment – a non-toxic water based treatment that can protect surfaces for up to 30 days, significantly reducing the risk of microbe cross contamination.
Have your say: How do you stay healthy during the working week?